Shinsui (1898 - 1972)

Hand Mirror

Series: First Series of Modern Beauties
Medium: Woodblock Print
Date: January 1st, 1931
Size (H x W): 17 x 11 (inches)
Publisher: Watanabe Shozaburo
Seals: Watanabe 6mm circular seal and Watanabe rectangular seal on reverse
Edition: 121/250
Provenance: J. Tobin Collection
Signature: Shinsui with rectangular seal Shinsui
Condition: Very good color and impression, small tape mark upper reverse, embellished with silver and blue mica highlights


About the artist

Truly elegant in appearance and graceful in pose, Shinsui Ito’s bijin-ga have earned him a reputation as an unrivaled painter of women and a master of design. Shinsui was born in Tokyo as Hajime Ito. He began his artistic training at age 12 in the drawing department of the Tokyo Printing Company before joining the workshop of the painter Kiyokata Kaburagi. By 1916, Shinsui completed his first woodblock print, followed a year later by the series Eight Views of Lake Biwa. Between 1922 and 1923, Shinsui designed his first set of the beauties (Twelve Figures of New Beauties), followed by two installments of Series of Modern Beauties (1929-1931 and 1931-1936). While most recognized for his bijin-ga, Shinsui Ito continued to work as a painter. In 1952, his mastery of woodblock print design was designated as Intangible Cultural Property, an event commemorated with the print Tresses (1952). Appointed to the Japan Art Academy in 1958, Shinsui received the Order of the Rising Sun in 1970 before his death in 1972.